To catch a (snowmobiling) predator (two time zones away)


Calling Chris Hansen...

Last December, Air Force Times received an email upset that we reported the arrest of retired Maj. Reinaldo Canton.

Canton was arrested in April 2007 on suspicion of meeting a 14-year-old girl he met online at a mall in Layton, Utah. The “girl?” Actually an FBI agent.

Prosecutors dropped coercion and enticement charges against Canton in May 2009 because he had a serious heart condition, according to local media reports. The Utah Attorney General’s Office picked up the case that June after getting a second medical opinion.

And then nothing happened for a couple of years. We received an email in December that read:

charges dropped,
officer retired and dying.
please respect the children

Dying? Respect the children? Hey, we’re people too. So my able colleague, Jill Laster, called around just to verify the claims.

Turns out Canton still had a warrant out for his arrest. And, at about the same time, the FBI discovered photos of Canton snowmobiling with his family in the Colorado mountains.

The bureau also found a waiver signed by Canton, indicating his health was good, according to a release from the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

Still, Canton pleaded for mercy on health grounds. He sent a letter from a psychiatrist that said the stress of appearing in court could severely impact his health.

This time, authorities weren’t buying it.

Canton appeared in a Utah courtroom Wednesday to enter a Sery plea to one count of enticement of a minor. The plea allows him to admit guilt but challenge the state law on statute of limitations.

He faces a sentencing hearing Aug. 22.

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff took a bit of a verbal victory lap in the press release from his office.

“This defendant has a doctorate degree,” he said, “and he seemed to think everyone was stupid enough to believe he was either physically or mentally too ill to face the consequences of his crime.”


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